1.) GameStop has no direct competition as a gaming-focused retailer and often acts as monopolistic as you'd expect.
There only competition is...
- Other retailers that have gaming departments (Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, et al.)
- The online retailer that's murdering them with a slow death of a 1,000 cuts... (Amazon)
- Retro game stores that get very little (if any) new items...
- Online auction sites like eBay & Craigslist...
- Digital download services like Steam, Nintendo eShop, PSN, XBOX Live, GOG.com, et al.
Most of these operations treat games as a secondary priority or an afterthought. And yet, I'd still rather go to one of them instead. Wal-Mart and Target have lower prices on new items than GameStop. More than once, I have found a new copy of a game at Wal-Mart that costed less than the used copy at a GameStop. The game in question is also usually something that was released at least 2 years ago, if not longer. How the hell does that happen?
And they don't care, either. They think they are untouchable. Or, they used to think that way before noticing a huge dip in profits. In 2007, they had a market value of 9.4 Billion Dollars. As of now in 2018, they are down to 1.42 Billion Dollars. Oh, if only you treated your customers better so that they would remain loyal to you during hard times... :P
2.) The trade-in policies suck.
You sell them a complete system with its original packaging, cables, controllers, pack-in games, etc. They give you $6 to $12 for the whole thing, depending on this week's edict from corporate headquarters. Then, they turn around and try to re-sell it for $60-80 to the general public. No, that is not an exaggeration.
|Like I'd ever sell one of my consoles to these shitheads...|
|Rick would give you a MUCH better deal than that...|
3.) They have no respect for retro games...
Despite knowing that retro games = BIG bucks for the savvy retailer, GameStop historically refused to have anything to do with a game, system or accessory that is not currently supported. The excuse for this was that they didn't want to sell something they may not be able to replace with a new copy from the manufacturer. However, that never stopped them from having their employees act like used car salesmen. It also never stopped them from shamelessly promoting MadCatz products over the years while knowing damned good and well that they were absolute shit.
|The only reason I have ANY of this company's products is because they were included with some package deals whenever I bought someone's old console with all the games, accessories, et al. Otherwise, I wouldn't take them.|
4.) As hinted in the last talking point, the company forces their employees to act like Used Car salesmen.
This little story I made up based on my real-life experiences will illustrate the point I am trying to make here...
Gamestop Employee: And did you want to pre-order your copy of *insert upcoming title here*?
Me: No. It doesn't even have a release date yet.
Gamestop Employee: Well, they are gonna sell out pretty quick when they come out...
Me: I already said no, guy.
Gamestop Employee: OK, did you want to get a warranty on your disc just in case it gets damaged like this one? *Points to an intentionally destroyed disc taped to the wall.*
Me: *Getting indignant* I would never fuck up my disc like that, guy. I take care of my things. That's why I have old Atari-era consoles that are older than me AND STILL WORK.
Gamestop Employee: Alrighty then, I see your Power-up Rewards card expired back in 2012. Would you like to renew it today? You can save...
Me: *Aggravated and pissed off* Hell no! I just came in for some of those points cards for Steam and the Nintendo eShop. This is also the ONLY time I'm liable to be coming in here for the rest of the year! Why the FUCK would I want a damned rewards card with you, guy?!
Gamestop Employee: **Rapidly blinks eyes and makes funny noises**
Me: Are you OK, dude? You look like you're about to have a seizure or some shit... *Getting concerned*
Gamestop Employee: *Mouthing 'help me'*
Gamestop Employee: *Hands me bag with merchandise while his hand shakes* Thank you for shopping at Gamestop, sir. Have a nice day.
And I could go on and on about how much they treat their employees like shit, but the internet has already done that for me. MANY times. Constantly trying to 'up sell' me is aggravating as shit. I wouldn't put up with that at a car lot if I had a choice. Unfortunately, those crooks got a lot of stupid franchise laws passed in the 1990's to protect their crummy business model. State governments went along with it because car dealerships tend to create lots of jobs and generate lots of tax dollars. There's no way in Hell that GameStop will ever be able to make that claim. Hell, they tend to flood a market with more locations than Subway does with sandwich shops!
5.) The Used Car lot vibe in those stores is about as strong as the Force is with Yoda.
And it makes me not want to go in there. I frequently hear people talking about how they like the convenience of a games retail store they can walk into and buy a game from right now. That is not enough justification for the store's existence to me. Convenience will not make up for shitty customer experiences that employees are forced to impose by corporate edict. Remember that scene in the AVGN movie where the nerd is working in the game store and his boss says 'Whatever is on that shelf, you get it sold! Sell! Sell! Sell!' despite the nerd telling him the new game is crap? Well, that's GameStop in a nutshell. The store employees know that the new *insert crappy new game title here* is awful, but they have to lie to customers and hock it anyway. They don't give a fuck, they're just in it to make a quick buck.
Why put up with the Used Car salesman shit and pay $60 for a new game (or $55 for the used game they paid out $20 in trade for) just to have it today? I don't mind ordering it from Amazon instead and having to wait 2-3 days for it to be delivered. Especially since Amazon was having a sale and sold the game to me for $47 brand new. No, I am not making that up. That happens quite frequently and it's why most of my new game purchases are done online. And that leads us to...
6.) Online sales are eating their lunch... and destroying their business model.
Not only has Amazon, et al. taken away much of their sales for new physical copies, the online services for the PC & consoles (Steam, GOG.com, Nintendo eShop, PSN, XBOX Live, etc.) have become a lot more popular. And if you don't care about having a physical copy of the game (assuming one was ever made), then why not use the eShop or Steam instead? That is far more convenient than actually leaving my house to go to a used car lot posing as a game store. Most gamers seem to agree since at least 70% of all game sales now are through downloads from these services. It's gotten to a point where many gamers are speculating that physical game media will be a thing of the past. I'm not jumping to conclusions on that issue, but I can see why some people see that as the likely future for the industry.
These days, if I do go into GameStop, it's just to buy points cards for Steam and the eShop. I don't like to use credit or debit cards for these things. Even worse for GameStop, I don't need to go to them for these cards. I can find them virtually anywhere. I have seen them in my local Best Buy, Home Depot, drug stores and my local neighborhood grocery store. They are going to cost exactly the same anywhere I buy them. So, why go to GameStop for these cards? I can just pick up a few when I go to buy groceries... Or tools and building materials at Home Depot... Or cold medicine from the drug store... They are literally like any kind of gift card for any kind of restaurant or store. Good luck fighting against that in the marketplace!
GameStop knows that the situation is bad. They knew this was going to go bad eventually too. That's why they try to squeeze every ounce of profit out of every little thing. That's also why they diversified their product line by buying out ThinkGeek and selling that brand's nerdy merchandise in the store. That could have helped if they treated customers well and didn't open too many locations. However, I think they are really just delaying the inevitable now. They are trying to find someone to buy them out right now. Even if that happened, I don't expect them to be around for long.
Some day pretty soon, they will start having liquidation sales and going out of business like Circuit City, Radio Shack and Toys'R'Us.
Unlike Circuit City, Radio Shack and Toys'R'Us, I don't know of a single person (myself included) who will miss them.
- Lord Publius